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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - ONLINE

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Western University
Psychology 2042A/B
Richard Brown

Psych 2042A Chapter 3: Biological and Environmental Context of Psychopathology Brain and Nervous System Brain Development: Biology and Experience much of early growth is biological, but the inuence of experience increases over time the brain contains millions of supporting cells, the glial cells, and neurons that are specialized to transmit impulses within the nervous system to and from other body parts (as if sending messages throughout the body) different brain areas develop in spurts more rapidly than others interaction of the nervous system has been shown to depend on the interaction of biological programming and experience early shaping of the brain relies in part on the mechanism of pruning - the elimination of unneeded cells and connections Structure the brain and the spinal cord form the central nervous system anything outside the central nervous system is called the peripheral nervous system - composed of nerves outside the central nervous system peripheral nervous system is composed of autonomic and somatic system autonomic nervous system is concerned with involuntary regulation (i.e. arousal and emotion) somatic nervous system involves sensory organs and sensing voluntary movement the entire nervous system works with the endocrine system - a collection of glands intricately involved in bodily functions through the release of hormones. the brain: has 3 parts that are interconnected and work together - the hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain hindbrain: pons, medulla, and cerebellum midbrain: contains the bers that connect the hindbrain and upper brain regions forebrain: consist of the two cerebral hemispheres connected by the corpus callosum below the cerebral hemispheres are the subcortical structures: thalamus and hypothalamus thalamus: processing and relaying information between the cerebral hemispheres hypothalamus: regulates basic urges such as hunger, thirst, and sexual activity Neurotransmission all cells have 3 parts: body, dendrite, and axon communication between the neurons (cells) occurs within a gap called the synapse dendrites of a neuron receive chemical messages from other neurons that result in an electrical impulse being send down the axon when the electrical impulse reaches down the axon, it releases chemicals called neurotransmitters (i.e. GABA, serotonin, epinephrine, glutamate) Nervous System and Risk for Disordered Functioning nervous system is an important factor for determining psychological functioning and behaviour dysfunction or harm can also be attributed to events that occur during pregnancy (prenatal), at the time of birth (perinatal), or during later development (postnatal) Prenatal Inuences poor maternal diet and health can put the developing child at risk exposure to prenatal stress can also the fetal biological system (makes them susceptible to later psychological problems) a variety of agents (harmful substances) can enter the mothers bloodstream - these are called teratogens (i.e. alcohol, drugs, rubella, syphilis, and gonorrhea) i.e. a result of alcohol abuse during pregnancy is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) have facial abnormalities (at upper lip, narrow eye openings) impaired motor skills and unusual gait (manner of walking) heart, kidneys, eyes, ears, and other organs are affected learning disabilities, cognitive impairments in memory, comprehension, etc hyperactivity, impulsivity, oppositional behaviour, conduct disorders ** as little as one drink a day can alter ones infant detrimentally - no safe level of maternal consumption teratogens are associated with malformation, functional and behavioural impairment, low birthweight, and fetal death. amount of exposure, timing of exposure, and the length of exposure to teratogens makes a difference in the outcome in general, when structures and systems in the body are rapidly developing, they are at higher risk for being adversely affected by a teratogen it is difcult to conduct research with teratogens because it is simply unethical to conduct a controlled study of exposing pregnant women to teratogens teratogens tend to cluster (i.e. prenatal use of illicit substances is often associated with alcohol and cigarette use) Perinatal and Postnatal Inuences excessive medication given to the mother, unusual delivery, and anoxia (lack of oxygen) can result in neurological problems with the baby prematurity, low birth-weight, and low birth-weight relative to length of gestation can also affect the baby in the US, 12% of infants are born prematurely (less than 37 weeks into gestation) and 7.5% are born with low birthweight some postnatal factors include: malnutrition, accident, illness, or poisoning i.e. lead poisoning - affects attention and cognitive development whenever brain damage occurs in youth, major concern is the degree to which the resulting problems can be remediated - plasticity - the brains ability to recover is controversial some say that young immature nervous system is very skilled in transferring functions to undamaged brain areas on the other hand, some say that damage to the immature brain may set up a cascade of interferences with future brain developmentGenetic Context genetic material is in the form of chromosomes, containing DNA - functional segments of genes chromosomes may exchange genes (replication, transcription) and can change genes (mutation) the study of genetic inuences on individual differences in behaviour is known as behaviour genetics genes act indirectly and in complex ways to guide the biochemistry of cells genetic code - refers to the order in which the four nucleotides appear on the DNA the genes that carry the code are very critical to development as it goes through replication, transcription, and translation only some of the coding genes are expressed (either turned on or off) but there are also noncoding genes that are involved genotype - genetic endowment ; phenotype - the observable characteristics of a person Single-Gene Inheritance Gregor Mendel hypothesized that each parent carriers two hereditary factors (two genes/alleles), but passes only one to the offspring from a parent: one gene is dominant (the trait is displayed), and one gene is recessive (displays itself only when transmitted by both parents) Huntingtons disease - transmitted dominantly Tay-Sachs disease - transmitted recessively one way to establish single-gene inheritance on a specic disorder is to identify a person with the disorder (the index case or the proband) -
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